Friday's action at this two-day meeting is named "Hollister Night at Hayward", in honour of Geoff Hollister, a beloved Oregonian who helped to make NIKE and instilled a strong spirit to many who wear the Swoosh. Hollister died on 6 February this year after battling cancer for many years. He was 66.
The 38th Pre Classic, this year held over two days on 1-2, is the fourth stop of the Samsung Diamond League and major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Eight of the 24 events will be held on Friday.
The Rich Get Richer – Men’s Triple Jump and Women’s Throws
Three already outstanding fields have received major improvements.
The men’s Triple Jump will add yet another World champion. Phillips Idowu of Great Britain, the 2009 World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medallist, will join Americans Christian Taylor (2011 World Champion) and Will Claye (2012 World Indoor champion) in a pre-London showdown. Idowu owns a PB of 17.81m, Taylor has a best of 17.96m and Claye 17.70m.
Even more pre-London drama should come in the women’s Discus Throw with the confirmation of Cuba’s Yarelis Barrios, owner of four Olympic or World Championship medals, including the 2008 Olympic silver behind American Stephanie Brown-Trafton, also a leader in the field.
The women’s hammer field will be enhanced with Yipsi Moreno of Cuba, a two-time World Championships gold medallist and four-time Olympic or World Championships silver medallist. She joins a stellar field including three other former World Championships gold medalists: World record holder Betty Heidler of Germany, Tatyana Lysenko of Russia, and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland.
Men's 10,000m - the Kenyan Olympic Trials
Athletics Kenya (AK) has selected 15 of its best to send to Eugene to race for its three berths in the London Olympics men’s 10,000m. The event is like none other in history – Kenya hosting an event outside its borders on turf that many know very well. Athletics Kenya hosted a mid-April event at the high-altitude site of Nairobi as part of its selection process.
Ten of Kenya’s entrants have PBs under 27 minutes – a staggering number for any other country in the world. The incredible field in order of their personal bests:
Kenyan Men’s 10,000m Olympic Trials
Micah Kogo 26:35.63 – 2008 Olympic bronze medallist. 5000 PB 13:00.77. 6th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Lucas Rotich 26:43.98 – 22-years old – 5000 PB 12:55.06. 3rd in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Josephat Bett 26:48.99 – 3rd in last year’s Pre 10K. 5000 PB 12:57.43. 5th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Eliud Kipchoge 26:49.02 – 2003 World Championships 5000 gold medalist. 5000 PB 12:46.53. 2nd in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Moses Masai 26:49.20 – 2009 World Championships bronze medalist. 4th in 2008 Olympic Games. 5000 PB 12:50.55. 1st in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Paul Tanui 26:50.63 – 21-years old – finalist at last year’s World Championships (9th). 7th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Emmanuel Bett 26:51.95 – 8th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Mark Kiptoo 26:53.64 – 5000 PB 12:53.46. 4th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Geoffrey Kirui 26:55.73 – 19 years old.
Titus Kipjumba Mbishei 26:59.81 – 21 years old – 5000 PB 13:00.04.
Bitan Karoki 27:13.67 – 21 years old – won 2011 Kenyan 5000 – 9th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Wilson Kiprop 27:26.93 (at altitude) – 2010 African Championships gold medalist at 10,000 and half-marathon. – 10th in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Mike Kigen 27:30.53 – 5000 PB 12:58.58.
Kevin Chelimo 27:30.50.
Denis Masai 27:32.97 – 20-years old – 2010 World Junior gold medallist.
Women’s 10,000 – Strong Ethiopian field
The women’s 10,000m is not an official Ethiopian Olympic Trials event, but with many of the country's best participating, a top finish will certainly bolster a chance for a London-bound ticket.
Reigning Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba, World record holder in the 5000m (14:11.15) and second fastest ever at 10,000m (29:54.66), is aiming for more glory in Eugene and would prefer another sub-30 effort.
She will be joined by several other Ethiopians, including two-time Olympian Worknesh Kidane (30:07.15), 2009 World Championships bronze medallist Wude Ayalew (30:11.87), 2009 World half-marathon bronze medallist Aberu Kebede (30:48.26), 21-year-old national champion Belaynesh Oljira (31:17.80), 19-year-old Tigist Kiros Gebreselasse (31:20.38), and Sule Utura (32:06.89).
Runners from other countries will also compete, including Kenya’s Pauline Chemning Korikwiang (31:06.29), a former World Cross Country champion.
International Mile – The Return of Centrowitz
Matthew Centrowitz from the U.S., bronze medallist in last year’s World Championships 1500m, returns to Hayward Field to headline the International Mile. The former University of Oregon star aims to better his mile best of 3:53.92, set earlier this year indoors in winning the venerable Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.
Also among the world-class field is Ethiopian Aman Wote (fourth in the World Indoor Championships 1500m earlier this year) and Americans Jeff See, Will Leer, and Dorian Ulrey.
Women’s 1500m – World champ Simpson among three fastest Americans
The first American to win a World Championships 1500m gold medal since Mary Decker in 1983, Jenny Simpson is the fifth-fastest American ever with a best of 3:59.90. She will be joined by third-fastest American ever, Anna Pierce (3:59.38), and the seventh-fastest American all-time, Shannon Rowbury (4:00.33), as well as Canadian Sheila Reid (last year’s NCAA 1500m and 5000m champ at Villanova) and 18-year-old Ethiopian Tizita Bogale (4:03.94).
Women’s 800m – Fastest Americans since turn of the century
Finalists at World Championships last summer in Daegu, Americans Alysia Montano and Maggie Vessey are also two of the fastest in U.S. history – Montano No. 5 at 1:57.34 and Vessey No. 8 at 1:57.84. The two highest ranked Americans will be joined by 2008 Olympian Alice Schmidt and fellow American Erica Moore, bronze medallist at this year’s World Indoor Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF